Sport

Blind lifter Malek Chamoun dreams of Commonwealth gold

MALEK Chamoun's dream of one day playing rugby league for the Canterbury Bulldogs was taken from him as a young teenager.

His parents didn't have the heart to tell their young seven-year-old son, who loved rugby league, that he was suffering from a condition known as retinitis pigmentosa that would eventually leave him blind.

It wasn't until several years later, when some high school mates started talking about getting their licences, that they broke the news to him about his worsening eye condition.

"I trained with kids at school and played in the park, but I never played a game because I kept dropping the ball,'' Chamoun told APN, able to see the funny side of his condition.

Malek's father George, who represented Australia in weightlifting, thought his son might enjoy the sport and they've been "Team Chamoun" ever since.

While now completely blind, the 25-year-old Sydney weightlifter of Lebanese descent says he can picture gold in the 85kg division at next month's Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

Chamoun refuses to see himself as disadvantaged because he is blind, although his disability presents some hurdles during competition.

Competitors have one minute to get from the warm-up area onto the competition platform and lift.

His father helps him navigate through the busy warm-up room to the stage, but from then on Malek is on his own if something goes wrong.

He has special notches on his bar to help him position his hands, but needs a week of practice at the competition venue to perfect his walk from the warm-up room onto the lifting platform.

"There's always people in the way, weights in the way and then you have to get up the stairs, so I have to move quite quickly," he said.

"When I get to the bar, I have to find my grip. There are notches on the bar so at times I have to adjust a bit."

Chamoun trains on a special competition-size wooden floor with a famous logo on it in his father George's garage.

His father paid $5000 for the 2000 Sydney Olympics weightlifting platform which he laid on the garage floor a few years later for his son to train on.

"It feels like such an honour training on it because you know all these great athletes would have lifted gold medal on it in Sydney so you want to do well," he said.

Topics:  canterbury bulldogs weightlifting


Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

Members needed for club to survive

Auctioneer Len "Fonz” Bargenquest and Rotary member Errol Rix at the Blackwater Rotary Auction.

Blackwater Rotary Club is looking for more members

It's time to pay council rates

The Central Highlands Regional Council office in Emerald.

Rates are expected in the letterboxes of Central Highlands residents

Flood mitigation work complete

MITIGATION PROJECT: The earthmover at work to clear the Nogoa River.

The flood mitigation project in the Nogoa River is complete.

Local Partners

MKR turns spiteful in suddendeath elimination

A MERE two points separated two teams from My Kitchen Rules, in a spiteful sudden-death cook-off.

Jilted Married At First Sight groom rejected again

Is Married at First Sight groom's second chance over already?

Sir Elton John coming to Mackay: What you need to know

Sir Elton will come to Mackay and Cairns in September.

Tickets to the concert go on sale on March 14

MAJOR ANNOUNCEMENT: Global superstar to rock Mackay in 2017

A major concert is set to rock Mackay this year.

Mackay, Cairns to host world's biggest superstars Sir Elton John

Robert Irwin introduces Jimmy Fallon to wild guests

Robert Irwin introduces Tonight Show host Jimmy Fallon to a cuddly sloth.

ROBERT Irwin continues Steve's legacy.

MOVIE REVIEW: Trespass Against Us a 'tender' crime film

Michael Fassbender and Brendan Gleeson in a scene from the movie Trespass Against Us.

Tough British film about criminal clan proves touching

Crocodile, hippo fears as I'm A Celeb filming hit by flooding

Flooding hits the set of I'm A Celebrity ... Get Me Out Of Here!

Fears crocodiles and hippos could infiltrate I'm A Celeb camp

Popular island resort sells to loaded international investor

OUR PICK: Chris Foey's colourful shot of one of Gladstone's great tourism hot spots, Heron Island.

International investor snaps up piece of Gladstone paradise.

Expert: Why renters, home buyers may struggle

Matusik Property Insights director Michael Matusik.

What's next for the city's housing market

Massive seaside development of 3200 lots

DESIRABLE LIFESTYLE: The masterplan for the proposed Elliott Heads Estate.

"There's nothing else left along the coastline of Queensland now"

Potential home buyers punished for doing the 'right thing'

Should I go to university or buy a house?

50 more high rise buildings planned for Brisbane CBD

Height limits have been scrapped for Brisbane CBD

800,000 more people expected to work in city over next 20 years

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!